DRC orders Vodacom to pay new levy of virtually R3 billion

The Democratic Republic of Congo has ordered mobile-phone corporations working within the African nation to pay a levy estimated at about $180 million (R2.8 billion) a yr, individuals with information of the matter mentioned.

The operators together with South Africa’s Vodacom, Orange, Airtel Africa, and Africell acquired invoices despatched by the regulator by a consultancy, 5C Power, the individuals mentioned, asking to not be recognized as a result of the matter is personal. The quantity is predicated on the bill the corporations acquired for a seven-week interval, they mentioned. 

Years of corruption and mismanagement has left authorities funds in DRC, one of many world’s largest producers of copper and the primary supply of cobalt, in shambles. That’s prompted President Felix Tshisekedi’s authorities to search out methods to broaden its tax base and increase its income. 

The DRC’s 4 cell carriers – “Africell, Airtel, Orange and Vodacom – have been invoiced numerous quantities by the regulator following the introduction of levies,” the Federation Des Entreprises Du Congo, the primary enterprise affiliation, mentioned. “As issues stand, all of the carriers within the DRC have rejected these invoices as irregular and due to this fact unenforceable.”

The business physique mentioned it desires to proceed talks with the federal government and regulator to keep away from elevating costs. 

The extra price contains an quantity charged on each voice minute, message, and megabyte of information utilized by clients, mentioned the individuals. The levy can’t be handed onto customers, they mentioned. 

Vodacom couldn’t instantly touch upon the matter, whereas Airtel and Orange declined to remark. A number of calls, emails and messages to the Congo authorities, and 5C Power remained unanswered. 

The DRC’s final yr dropped a plan to tax cell operators, following opposition from the general public because it may lead larger prices.  

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